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January 15, 2016

How to listen to music

Listening to music brings great joy to many people. If you're confused about why there is so much disagreement about what's good, and what isn't, or how to listen to it, rest assured that all that you are just seeing is that music is a very personal thing.

The best way for you to listen to music is to find what I call a "reference point". That is, something that speaks to you, something that you can understand and attach to. It might be lyrics, maybe of love, it might be a particular sound, such as the sound of piano, or a guitar. Whatever it is, it's meaningful to you.

Speaking for myself, I love the sound of piano. I am also fascinated with guitar. And that's probably because I have tried these things. I never got good at either of them, but they're important to me. I can picture fingers on a keyboard, or on a guitar, as I listen to the music.

All of my life I've heard people rant about music. Old people insist that modern music is "just noise". Young people don't understand. A song that is too popular is described as garbage, a song that isn't popular enough doesn't get heard enough. You know the routine, we've all heard it - it's as if there's a script written to talk about music.

For some people, age brings a terrible narrowing of the mind. Music is only the music that they grew up with, nothing else can fit in. For others, age brings a widening of experience. If you're in the second category, you're unusual. So I'd recommend not getting into an argument with people You'll lose, as it's an argument of opinion. And people are always right about their opinion. That's what an opinion is - not what is right or wrong, but what people like.

So listen to music your own way. Speaking for myself, I love to listen to all types of music, from oldies to the latest popular stuff. I grew up with friends who all played music instruments, many of whom recorded at Paisley Park in Minneapolis. I've gone and listened to bands play at bars, just to listen to the music. I even remember sitting in an alley in the '80s one evening in Los Angeles listening to a garage band. The garage door was closed, and they probably never knew that they had an appreciative audience.

So there you go. That's how to listen to music. Do it your own way. See? You knew all along!

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